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Posts Tagged ‘Personal’

Today has been absolutely GORG. Almost 70 degrees in January!? Usually at this time of year it’s cold, damp, dark and miserable – but today was a wonderful exception. We went for a walk at the park and it was literally shoulder to shoulder with people walking dogs, pushing strollers, riding bikes, and jumping on pogo sticks (no joke). People were out in droves after being cooped up indoors for entirely too long. You could say it was a good day.

The warmer weather gave me a little taste of Spring and pushed me into productive mode. You would think that being locked up indoors when it’s freezing out would give me lots of time to be productive, but instead I typically hibernate and whine about my cold feet. Warm weather = burst of energy. Today we painted the edge banding on our base cabinets to prepare for our finished cabinets doors to be installed on Monday. A much-anticipated blog post (for my parents and in-laws) will be coming your way next week. I went for a run, played tennis with my husband (running to the tennis court wasn’t my best idea), did laundry, deep cleaned the house from all the dust from kitchen renovation madness, and made some homemade cookies.

I’m exhausted even reading that.

I’ve been trying my best to eat a bit healthier recently so when Scott suggested making brownies for dessert, I had to find an alternative. Sure, boxed brownies are incredible, but I’m enjoying finding new recipes on Pinterest that allow us some more healthy (and different) options for food. Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest? Have you read a post about Pinterest on every blog out there? Yeah, I don’t care – I’ll be redundant. I love Pinterest and I don’t care who knows. :) I found this recipe and it turned out to be the perfect blend of healthier cookie and cake-y brownie. Yumm.

Lower Fat Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. (Do not pack flour when measuring).
  3. Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating well. Add cocoa and egg whites, beating well. Gradually beat in flour mixture until blended. Stir in chocolate mini chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (about 3/4-inch balls to get 40 cookies) onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Cool on pans 2 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

You can find the original recipe here. Hope you have a warm weekend filled with productive time and cookies – the best kind of weekend there is!

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’tis the Season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! Or, insert your favorite holiday cliché to accompany this collage.

Is it weird that I feel more festive this season because of my new bangs? Is it strange that somehow I feel more merriment oozing from my being because I cut certain strands of my hair slightly shorter so they hang against my forehead?

 

I think I answered my own question.

 

Bangs or no bangs, it’s finally frigid here and we’re finished with our holiday decorations. The mistletoe candle is a’burnin and we’ve busted out the hot chocolate more than once. I love the holidays! Hope your home is warm, cozy and filled with holiday pom pom garland (tutorial to come)!

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It’s been a good day

Ahh, new shoe day. It could possibly be one of the best kind of days.

It’s right up there with haircut day, or new backpack day when you’re in grade school. It’s all about life’s little pleasures, right? I’m feeling particularly thankful this November – not only because of the obvious reasons (good health, job, etc).  but for the little ones as well. Super sales on sweaters that look like Marc Jacobs but aren’t. Upgrades to first class for my husband’s work flight. A dog that is infinitely happy. A drama free Monday at work. A quilt that our dry cleaner ruined becoming available again at Target so I can buy it for a second time. Our warm and cozy little home. Having one side of the family’s Christmas shopping done – before Thanksgiving.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Monday filled with life’s little happy moments!

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Ah, Fall.

Is anyone out there taking crap from their yard, putting it in glass vases, and calling it Holiday decor?

No? Just me? Ah, well. Happy Fall, y’all!

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Ahh… the beach. We just returned from a lovely vacation with my family and I’m already dying to go back to lazy days filled with ocean breezes and pitchers of mojitos. Le sigh. While we were there relaxing, I took a few pictures of my adorable niece and nephew for my lovely sister. Enjoy the explosion of adorableness!

The newest addition: miss Clara Elaine. I just love her to bits! She’s quite darling, but certainly has a rival in her big bro, Henry. I like to call this GQ baby.

Stud, no? I’ll let the rest of the pictures do the talking.

There is something I love about this last image. It’s just such a sweet moment between two little siblings. We even decided to put together a quick birth announcement from these photos, inspired (i.e. copied) from one I pinned on Pinterest.

Please, feel free to leave comments on how adorable my family is. I really don’t mind.

 

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Stand By

Hello? Is anyone still there? To say I’ve been absent would be an understatement. This summer has been a very busy one – in a good way. We’ve had lots of fun in the sun, time with friends, and trips here and there – with a lot more coming down the pipe.

I do have some updates on the house to share (shocker!) so stay tuned for those. If you like. If you don’t enjoy checking in on a blog that updates once every month, I’m totally there with you. But you may miss out on such riveting entries as “how I convinced my husband to get on board with pink furniture” and “the day we paid someone to clean our couch”. I really sucked you in with those titles, didn’t I?

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th and is getting back into the swing of things like we are!

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Life has been busy, and I’m a broken record. I’m also going to do something a lot of bloggers tend to do – an iPhone dump. I’m such a cliché, right? Yes, I have an iPhone and yes, I kinda love it. And I wanted to share a few pictures I had on the ol’ phone, so why not do a virtual iPhone dump? I hear it’s the cool thing to do.

This weekend I attended a family wedding in Asheville, NC. I don’t know about you, but a family wedding is basically the best thing ever. My family is wonderful and funny and entertaining – and really knows how to throw a party. The rehearsal dinner was at a great venue, The Barns, in Black Mountain, NC and there was a bluegrass band called High Windy that was. so. good. We even bought their CDs afterwards, and felt like groupies.

After a night of foot stompin’ and barbeque eatin’ (catered by 12 Bones barbeque in Asheville), we took a trip to a huuuuge antique mall (Antique Tabacco Barn) that my coworker recommended. I was unsuccessful in finding new night stands, but I did send my coworker a picture of this cute dresser for $99 big ones.

Love that mirror! This antique mall was 77,000 SF of pure antique bliss. We found some beautiful old doors with egg-and-dart moulding and beveled glass, a custom wood cabinetry/divider wall, and a campaign dresser for a whopping $950. I decided to pass on that one. But seriously, if you’re in Asheville, check it out! We were all quite impressed with the goods they had there.

The actual wedding was at another beautiful venue, The Farm, and everything was perfect. There were wild horses for the guests to pet and a bonfire for s’mores under the stars.

The best part, though, was the Photobooth. This is a big trend in weddings now, and I have to agree that it’s the best thing ever. So fun!

Oh, and while my parents were up in NC visiting us, my sister decided to have a baby. She’s really known for her good timing with childbirth. Meet Clara Elaine, my new little niece. So excited to meet her!

One more photo dump: here is a little something that I’m working on in the abode. We’ll see if it turns out into something blogworthy! Thanks for hanging in there with me, readers!

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There are very few people in our lives that you just know are good seeds. People you can always count on and trust to be there for you no matter where life takes you. People that you can see only once a year, yet it seems like not a day has passed since you’ve seen each other last.

I have a very small number of friends that fall under this category, but one of them is my friend Sarah. We became friends in high school, and she’s been cracking me up ever since. She’s the type of person that I’m constantly amazed by because of her perseverance and insane courage to try anything and everything in life. Sarah hasn’t always had the easiest road in life, and unfortunately her family has fallen on tough times as of late. Sarah’s younger brother, Kent, recently passed away after a long battle with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. Sarah’s parents have devoted their lives to caring for her brother and are now struggling with the everyday bills that most of us take for granted.

Two of our mutual friends, who also happen to be on my short list of amazing people, have put together a website to accept donations to help Sarah’s family in this difficult time. I know that there are tons of people in the world that are in need, but I can honestly say that a donation to this family is something that I’m very passionate about. Sarah and her family are such selfless and courageous people and I want to make this difficult time for them as easy as possible. Please visit the donation website below and help this great family in need.

http://kentwalkerfoundation.blogspot.com/

(the PayPal link is now up!)

And because posts are always better with pictures, here is a picture of some of my best high school friends at a recent wedding (Sarah in the middle, and me to left).

Yes, we’re all adorable. And if Sarah’s charming face doesn’t get you, please go visit her blog. She’s an amazing writer and just about the funniest girl I know. Really. She makes me pee my pants when I read her stories. Enjoy!

P.S. If you see a random YouTube video at the end of this post, I apologize. I have no idea where it came from and I’m trying to figure it out! Thanks!

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New Year, New Outlook

Happy New Years, everyone! I hope today finds you rejuvenated and well rested (which is our case since we stayed in), ready to embark on a new set of 365 days. Or, I hope this day finds you incredibly hung over from having a blast celebrating last night – either or. I was talking with some friends recently about New Years resolutions, and most of us agreed that we never make any because we never keep them. But I want to make some resolutions – some goals for things I’d like to do to improve my life, period. Not just this year, but for the long haul. Overall tweaks to my life, instead of unattainable pipe dreams that I know I won’t stick with. Those I should be able to keep, right? Here’s hoping.

Health it up real nice. Yeah, yeah, the most common New Years resolution ever – to lose weight. I feel that my husband and I do a pretty good job of eating well, staying active, etc. but I want to be sure I’m doing everything in my power to remain healthy and happy. You never know when something can pop up and make you wish that you had taken better care of your body – health is so important to overall happiness and I want to keep that in mind with every food/lifestyle choice I make for myself.

Be a better wife. I hope that I’m already a good wife, but I want to improve on that even more. We’ve known quite a few couples recently that have had problems and hardships, and that really reminds me that marriage is hard. It’s WORK. I don’t think that everyone realizes the amount of work that you have to put into a relationship with another person, but I want to remember that. And remember to cherish how lucky and fortunate I am to have that relationship, and keep it going for the long haul.

Listen to more music. Random, I know, but I used to be quite in love with music. I listened to it every free chance I had and then some. With life, a house and a full-time job, some of that music listening time has gone by the wayside, and I miss it! We’ve recently been turning off the TV more and playing Pandora through our Bluray player and I must say that it’s a pleasant change. I think we, like most young couples, get in a rut of coming home after work and turning into a zombie in front of the television. I want to work on using some of that downtime for music, and reading – and any other things that won’t turn my brain into mush. Except Friends marathons, of course. Those can stay.

Live in the moment. I think my husband and I are at that age where we feel like we should be “figuring things out”. We should be moving into our forever home, and should be starting a family. We should be working towards something in our careers and should start to feel like we’re figuring life out. Psh. We’re definitely planners, so it’s hard for us to not be working towards a goal, but I want to try to just LIVE. If we want to have kids before the financials are in place, so be it. If we want to buy that new great thing, even though it’s not part of the master plan, so be it. If we want to ignore the people who are telling us we should have kids by now and just enjoy being together, so be it. I want us to remember that nothing will ever be perfect and that we should just enjoy each day without worrying about what tomorrow holds. Carpe diem or something like that.

From us (on one of our many road trips) to you – here’s to a great 2011!

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, blogland! Guess how many trick or treaters we had tonight? Zero. Guess how much candy we had for the non-existent trick or treaters? A lot (see exhibit A above). And to put the icing on our lame-filled cake, our heavily decorated neighbors had about 12 kiddos drop by, while we were sadly kid-less. Looks like someone in this house will be having a stomach ache tonight!

Speaking of stomach ache, have you ever tried Pioneer Women’s country fried steak? We decided to cook this up tonight and in the words of my husband, “ohhhh mama”. It literally feels like a ton of bricks in your stomach after about 20 minutes, but it’s totally worth it. I promise we don’t eat like this all of the time, either – some days you just have to have an incredibly unhealthy meal.

A funny little story about our Halloween decorations this year. I’m not the biggest Halloween fan. I’m not against the holiday or anything – I just don’t tend to decorate the abode until Christmas time comes around. We decided to take Charlie up to the park this morning to get a bit of wearing him out running in, and what do you know? Someone had dropped about 30 little pumpkins near a storm drain. What would possess a person to leave a heap of perfectly adequate pumpkins at a neighborhood park?I tried to figure this out while I looked at the loot, and decided that this person was giving me a golden opportunity – free decor! I could have brought home enough pumpkins to lure 100 trick or treaters to our house, but I decided to just bring 3 home to jazz up our front stoop a little bit. They look quite nice next to our new little mums as well.

I’m hoping these flowers will stand the test of time like our geraniums did last year. Evidently mums are very low maintenance and do well in cooler temperatures, so it sounds like the perfect companion to my very black thumb.

On another note, with the cooler weather trickling in, the leaves are really starting to cover our front yard. Every year we loathe the days when we have to rake/mulch/bag the immense amount of dead leaves and we’re always trying to find a way to streamline the process. This year we’re attempting to blow the leaves a few times to a staging area on our driveway, and then spending one long afternoon bagging everything once the trees are dry.

My idea to “streamline the process” was to hire someone to pick up our leaves. For some reason Scott didn’t seem to jump on that bandwagon. Does anyone out there have a less painful approach to gathering leaves that we should know about? We’re not quite used to this arduous process yet, since we both have Floridian roots (where Christmas day consists of shorts and 80 degree weather). Anyhow, hope everyone has a great Halloween and is enjoying the beginnings of Fall!

P.S. Halfway through writing this post, we did indeed get some trick or treaters. Scott was so excited and told them to take as much as they want (rookie mistake) and they proceeded to clean out our entire candy bowl in 5 seconds like a pack of rabid dogs. Oh, and one of them was dressed as Prince, the Purple Rain era. Hilarious!

*A reader asked for the recipe for the country fried steak. I used Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, but it seems like the recipe is here on her site as well. To make the gravy, just add some flour and milk to the leftover grease in your skillet. Disgusting but delicious!

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